During a late-evening hearing Thursday the Washington State Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee recommended Senate Bill 5327 for approval. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, would make it a gross misdemeanor to use state-issued electronic benefit transfer cards at certain adult-oriented locations.
“KING-TV in Seattle has exposed a great amount of fraud and abuse going on within the state Department of Social and Health Services and just today, KREM-TV in Spokane had a story about people using their EBT cards to bail out of jail,” Carrell said. “Fortunately, my bill makes the use of welfare cash for purposes associated with bail-bond agencies a gross misdemeanor.”
SB 5327 would also disallow the use of the state-issued cards at liquor stores, tattoo parlors, tobacco outlets, strip clubs, and medical marijuana vendors, as well as require that the cards only be used in the state of Washington.
“As more and more instances of welfare fraud come to light, the citizens of Washington continue to grow frustrated and angry that the stewards of their tax dollars aren’t more vigilant about who receives that money and what it is spent on,” Carrell said. “Regardless of how much the state will save or how much closer it will get us to balancing the multibillion-dollar deficit we’re facing, the fact is that people are ripping off the system and my bill will help put a stop to that.”
SB 5327 will now go to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration before being voted on by the full Senate.